Goodyear says its Amiens Nord plant in France has finally closed with the loss of 1,200 jobs, following an improved redundancy deal with the unions.

The dispute that dragged on for seven years was one of the longest in modern French industrial relations history and finally ended in the kidnap of two senior managers at the plant in a ten-day ordeal.

"Goodyear has accepted to improve some of the conditions of the social plan, to give some more money," a Goodyear spokesman in France told just-auto.

"In exchange, the CGT agreed to end the occupation of the plant and drop all legal lawsuits. Basically, that means the plant is now pretty much 100% closed - 1,200 employees are redundant."

The tyre manufacturer is declining to reveal what the details of its improved offer were to placate the CGT, who in early January, held the two men against their will, a situation Goodyear described at the time as "a kidnapping," with reports indicating they were being doused with water to keep them awake.

Speculation is now mounting the resolution of the dispute could see the way for American company, Titan International, to make a bid for the operation.

Titan CEO, Maurice Taylor and French Economics Redevelopment Minister, Arnaud Montebourg, were engaged in a furious war of words last year that appeared to end in stalemate, but the latest developments in Amiens could herald a thaw.

Indeed, Montebourg's office has issued a statement, hailing the end to the conflict and specifiably mentioning Titan as a possible buyer.

"This agreement, approved by the employees, opens the way to an offer for the agricultural business by Titan International, an offer which would ensure the retention of 333 jobs for four years and major investment at the site," said Montebourg's Ministry.

Titan was not immediately available for comment.